Taking stock of their dark surroundings, the heroes moved came to two tunnels that moved in similar, but ultimately different directions. Following the closer path, they came to a short, oddly-shaped room that seemed hastily abandoned. They searched and discovered a small magically protected iron box, and the remnants of sleeping quarters. Forming a construct from astral matter, the psion ordered his creation to rend the box, to reveal what was inside. Within it, they found a few sundry items, some stale provisions, coinage and a strange collection of scrolls – all that remains of The Journal of Gheznor Tonoff. Convinced of a hidden passage, the party broke off and spent quite a deal of time searching the oddly shaped room, but were unable to find any secret or hidden locations.
Returning to the other passage, they crept along a dark hallway that smelled heavily of rot – the gnome readied his psionic-sight, in hopes of viewing foes awaiting in ambush. It partitioned off twice again, but one passage was blocked by a stragely smooth wall, a conjured wall of stone, the cleric informed his party. Deciding to return to the wall later, they followed their original passageway,and discovered a stairs leading down into a small, chill and clammy room that housed a partially excavated well. In this small room, there were a wooden scaffold and a series of winches that lowered a large wooden platform into the black depths below. Also present were pick-axes, rubble and a strange, four-sided statue, each side depicting some unknown sinister looking hero, carved from different coloured rock or semi-precious stone. The warlock tossed a sunrod which eventually flickered out, giving no sound of hitting anything within the yawning darkness. Distant water could be heard pouring through an unseen passage, causing a faint fog to rise menacingly within the crack in the stone floor.
Suddenly, a lurking ghast leapt out from behind the statue, but was quickly frozen solid and shattered by a cryokinetic blast from the psion. Yet the party still heard a shuddering crash from the other side of the wall, as an earth necromental emerged from the very walls, and lunged toward the heroes. Composed of rotting corpses, tomb and crypt stones, and earth from a grave, its massive stony hands battered the psion and his psychic warrior companion, sapping their very lives with its draining touch. The warlock poured powerful crimson blasts into it, shattering stone and sending fell energy tearing through its body, as the psion blasted it with fiery bursts from his mind, his cohort desperately trying to hold the beast away from the more vulnerable members of the party. With a shudder, the beast fell screeching, but the damage was done – the psion and psychic warrior strained under the weight of their wounded souls.
The party climbed onto the wooden platform and the hexblade and the psychic warrior counter-wound the winches to slowly lower the rickety platform into a massive cavern – so wide that the walls could not be seen, and only the destination was visible: a massively carved, square made of smooth black stone, shot through with sizzling purple veins. Upon reaching this strange rock, the party noticed another such platform and a similar series of winches and ropes, presumably connected to the unseen ceiling. As they were examining this, their vision was blocked by a magical fog as the warlock suddenly flew greatly through the air, screaming in pain. The psion’s vision only saw the warlock and little else, but it was obvious that something that could block his empowered vision was holding his ally. Quickly dispelling the fog, the psion saw a horrid floating creature holding his friend in its tentacles, hissing and snapping static with its beak-like mouth. The psion recognized this beast as a grell, and informed his friends of its nature, as the hexblade attempted to curse it, while the psychic warrior tried to grab at it to prevent it from flying away…only to himself be ensnared within its long poisonous arms. The warlock managed to activate a magical anklet through gritted teeth, and was whisked several feet away to safety, falling to the rocky ground. He set about blasting the creature, piercing its side and causing it to lurch to the sizzling black rock below.
As he tried to walk back to the platform, strange crackles of energy made him weak, as he hurriedly retreated to the closer platform, the rest of the party following him closely. The hexblade and psychic warrior used their combined strength to lower this secondary platform alongside the strange glowing stone, until they touched down upon the smooth cavern floor – some 400 feet from the top of what now appeared to be an obelisk, similar to the one mentioned in The Journal of Gheznor Tonoff.
In this black, unearthly place, they found some weird shrines, a slender stone platform that the Ancient Obelisk seemed to rest upon and heard the faint trickles of water into a pool of brackish water along the far side of this cavern floor. Investigating the first strange shrine, known as an Obex, shaped as an inverted ziggurat, except the steps were strewn with odd and hostile symbols; the cleric informed them upon some translation their nature. They then travelled toward a large carving of a ring with several smaller symbols contained within it – on closer inspection, they realized it was a Black Sun carved into the ground with unholy symbols of pain and madness, and each of the lesser symbols keyed itself to an element. However, this examination was cut short, as an insane cleric of the fire temple appeared hovering over the Black Sun and began to bring unholy misery upon the group with no regard for his own, short life. After a short but vicious battle, the cleric was reduced to a smouldering ruin, the psion used another astral construct to drag the body away from the evil runes, and they removed some valuable items from this strange character.
Climbing the pillar beneath the Ancient Obelisk they found a weird portal, seemingly made of tentacles, that lead to a swirling black mist. The psion and cleric spoke and agreed that this could only spell trouble, so the psion used a psychic dorje to channel a keening, stone-shattering burst, causing the strange portal to collapse upon itself and crack unexpectedly.
Accidentally touching the tip of the Ancient Obelisk, the psychic warrior was transported to a completely dark, spherical room, yet the odd nature of this room allowed him to see through the shadows. Soon, his concerned fellows also risked life and warped themselves to this room as he did. Each was given a small, black, lustrous fruit, as a disembodied voice proclaimed…
Seek the heart of each of the four moons. Together, they can sunder the walls of my prison. For now, eat of my fruit and be blessed
Not wanting to show fear when confronted by a formless elder horror, the psion ate the oddly sweet tasting fruit, and vanished instantly. The psychic warrior followed suit, as did the rest of the heroes. The warlock had extreme reservations, but also enjoyed the dark fruit. Much to their surprise, the fruit was a blessing from The Elder Elemental Eye and they found themselves becoming slightly better than they were before, clearly benefiting from a process that was reserved for only the faithful of the insane cult. When they left the small, black room, they were back at the top of the stone, near the hole by the well. The warlock climbed back down, braving the black darkness of the weird place, in order to use a magical item to record the party’s happenings, to return to Zhedarak with definitive proof of this cult.
They then searched and found some fallen treasure from areas they’d previously glossed over, and return to , and then broke down the wall of stone. Within, they found a small grouping of cockatrices, nested within an area of shattered stone; thankfully, they were dispatched incredibly quickly, with no petrification. They also discovered a secret, well-worn tunnel that clearly led to an area outside, as evinced by the whistling wind, that showed signs of heavy use, so they felt that people used this route to escape the dungeon once it was attacked or the obelisk started making people go completely insane.
Finally, in a secluded back room, they discovered a small gnome girl sitting on an unused, dusty desk, playing a game of counting her toes. When asked, she said she was playing with a ‘man in brown’ but he got boring pretty quickly. The room was covered in claw marks and she said this man was hiding in the closet. When opened, the remnants of a man poured from the wooden closet; he was shredded to pieces, but his gear in tact; he seemed to be in the middle of escaping before whatever the girl was caught him and killed him. He carried a fair amount of treasure and thankfully, whatever this girl is did not seem care about that. When questioned, by the cleric and the gnome psion, she said she had a vested interest in the coming slaughter, but next time they meet, she and they may not find things so warm between each party. With that, she stepped toward the large pool of blood that rushed from the wardrobe, and with a smirk, melted into it.
Worn, battered and nearly out of all supplies, the party left this cursed place, only to discover that the nearby surroundings were somehow more sinister. Strangely, none could place how or why it happened; the warlock discovered he had some difficulty breathing, but this soon passed. As they walked, the hexblade realized all of their provisions and drink were utterly spoiled, as they tightened their belts and pressed onward, bloodying their boots and splinting their shins in the process – they had walked for well over 15 hours of the day. Returning to Zhedarak with pained, chapped expressions, they readily spent gold to fill their bellies with warm food, cold drink and then retreated to their rooms at Firewater’s Rest.
The warlock, Joshtradamus, having spent nearly a dozen minutes crawling through what essentially amounted to liquified corpses and grave soil, paid richly for his clothes to be tended to, and a bath to be run in his room. He exclaimed loudly to all that it would be well worth it.
Late the next morning, the gnome attempted to contact the doomseers at the Library of Dumathoin, announcing in the public anteroom of the faithful that he had discovered a vile cult and required assistance. After some initial confusion, the cleric escorted them to a private prayer chamber and listened in traditional stoic, yet concerned manner to the tale as the heroes took their turns explaining what had happened at the Moathouse. This cleric left and returned several minutes later, explaining that the elder doomseer has suspected something of this nature – given the odd happenings in the past few weeks, but had no proof as his divinations said nothing. He agreed to secretly support the party of heroes, but publicly would have to distance the Library of Dumathoin from their efforts, and downplay what they actually discovered, as this cult appeared to have eyes and ears everywhere. For their efforts and discoveries, the clerics healed the remaining wounds and hurts of the heroes, and gifted upon them two magical stones that would harm the unliving or fiendish creatures respectively.